What Is The Longest A Team Has Gone Without Being Awarded A Penalty?

@TheKnowledge_GU Leeds haven't had a penalty awarded in their favour in 44 league games, back to home game v Reading last season - is that a record?

— smw30 (@smw30) September 3, 2018

It’s not even a Yorkshire record. “My team Sheffield United beat it in 1991 and 1992,” says Darren White. “United were awarded a penalty on 23 March 1991 at Wimbledon and didn’t get another one until the first ever Premier League game – at home to Manchester United – on Aug 1992. That’s

50 games without a penalty. Incidentally, Brian Deane scored both.”

Two summers earlier, the England team ended a remarkable

53-game run without being awarded a penalty – a spell that lasted four and a half years. Bryan Robson scored one in Israel on 26 February 1986, and that was it until the World Cup quarter-final against Cameroon on 1 July 1990. No wonder Gary Lineker was so nervous: it was his first penalty for England in his 56th game. He equalised with seven minutes remaining, and then scored another penalty to win the match in extra-time. Insert your own London buses joke here.

Chris Rawson writes in to say that Burnley are currently on a run of 47 games without a penalty, while Sean DeLoughry has an even better example. “Galway United,” writes Sean, “can push the record up to an impressive

72 games.”

Can you top that? If so, you know what to do.

Away with the shirt

“There certainly have been a number of ugly strips over the years,” writes Paul Hughes.

“But which ones have offended their supporters the most and what action did they take?”

“During the first training session of Feyenoord’s 2002-03 season, several supporters of the Dutch club noticed goalkeeper Edwin Zoetebier wearing a pink jersey,” recalls Dirk Maas. “This was supposed to be Feyenoord’s goalkeeper shirt in away matches. Feyenoord fans reacted furiously, saying it would shatter the club’s robust image. Hundreds phoned and emailed letting the club know they didn’t appreciate the pink shirt. Kit sponsor Kappa bowed to pressure and withdrew it. Zoetebier never played an official match in the pink jersey.”

Flagged up by Tim Street are Brentford, whose “fans’ voices were heard when the club asked fans to vote for a new home kit design in the late-1990s. After the final home match, a group of youth-team players were sent on a lap of the pitch, each dressed in a different design – the idea being the most popular applause-wise would be picked. The unfortunate Michael Dobson, who would go on to play around 200 first-team games for the club, was sent out in a garish number which saw the traditional red-and-white stripes broken up by a kind of black spray-paint effect. Poor Dobbo had to trudge past the stands to a chorus of boos and chants of ‘red and white, red and white’. Said kit never saw light of day again.”

This is also worth looking at and if you’ve any more stories of supporter power, drop us a line.

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The George Graham school of entertainment

In last week’s Knowledge we looked at some of the dullest season tickets in history. We should give an honourable mention to the inimitable George Graham, who took over from the conservative Howard Wilkinson as Leeds manager in September 1996 and still managed to sex down the team’s approach.

Leeds played 16 home Premier League games under Graham in 1996-97, in which they scored 14 and conceded seven. That included a memorable run from January to April of five goalless draws in seven games. The other two matches ended 1-0. The run ended when they let their hair down on the final day of the season and laid on a 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough.

Wherever I lay my hat

What is the most home stadiums has a team used in a single season?

— Kameel Gopal (@KameelG) September 4, 2018

“I think Leeds United in 1971-72 might be a contender,” suggests Garry Brogden. “Because of the trouble at the infamous West Brom defeat the season before (I was there and I’m right behind the linesman who got hit on the head – it appeared to be an orange wrapped in silver foil, for some reason) Leeds had to play their first four home games of the next season away from Elland Road: Wolves and Crystal Palace at Leeds Road (Huddersfield), Spurs at Boothferry Park (Hull) and Newcastle United at Hillsborough (Sheffield). Normal service was resumed with a game at Elland Road against Liverpool in September, so that’s four grounds in total.”

Related: The forgotten story of ... When Anfield was Manchester United's home ground

Michael Haughey sent in several examples of teams using three in one season. Manchester United in 1947-48 (because of wartime damage to Old Trafford) and 1971-72 (hooliganism), Bradford City in 1985-86 after the Valley Parade fire, and Leyton Orient née Clapham Orient in 1930-31 – because a wooden fence was too close to the pitch. And he goes one better with Carlisle United, whose Brunton Park was flooded by Storm Desmond in December 2015, meaning home matches were also held at Deepdale, Bloomfield Road and Ewood Park.

Peter Guber flags up Hungarian NB I side Egri FC from 2012-13, who “were not able to play home games in their stadium due to lighting issues” – in short, they had no floodlights. “They held three home games at the Vasas FC stadium (Budapest), three at the Debrecen stadium, one at the DVTK stadium (Miskolc), and eight at the Vác stadium.” Dusan Manojlovic also points out that Red Star Belgrade played in two different countries during the 1991-92 European Cup. They could not play at home because of the war in the former Yugoslavia and instead played in Hungary (Szeged and Budapest) and Bulgaria (Sofia).

The best suggestion so far, however, is six grounds in one season. “In the 2012-13 season, Gateshead of the Blue Square Premier played home matches at six grounds,” states Deryck Hall. “In addition to the International Stadium, the Heed played at the grounds of Blyth Spartans, Carlisle United, Hartlepool United, York City and Boston United. The latter was a 368-mile round trip. The reason for this nomadic existence was the collapse of the drainage system at the council-owned ground.”

Knowledge archive

“I have recently been enjoying watching the DVD of John Byrne’s 1980s BBC Scotland television series Tutti Frutti,”wrote Stuart Webber in 2010.

“The opening scenes feature the burial of Jazzer McGloan, lead singer of The Majestics. Adjacent to the cemetery, a (presumably Scottish) football ground can clearly be seen. Does anyone know which ground this might be?”

Despite the proximity of St Mirren Park and Petershill Park to cemeteries, the ground pictured in those opening scenes is, as a surprising number emailed in to point out, Celtic Park. “There’s a cemetery just behind Celtic Park (the reason the new north stand has pillars, as I recall, was the roof supports could not overhang the cemetery),” noted Pete Morrison. “And the nickname ‘Paradise’ originates in a journalist comparing the move from the original site to a new one being like ‘moving from the graveyard to paradise’.”

For thousands more questions and answers look through our archive.

Can you help?

“Burnley have three recent international goalkeepers from the same country on their books,” mails Tom Mann. “Has anything similar to this happened before?”

Denmark started their match against Slovakia with 11 players who had never played for their national team.

Except obviously the national teams playing their first match ever, in what other international matches has this happened?

— Pablo Miguez (@pablomiguezdm) September 11, 2018

NAC Breda from the Netherlands have used 4 different goalkeepers in their first 4 matches of the season. This leads me to ask, what's the highest number of GKs a team has used over a season? (or the lowest matches per GKs ratio)

— Yaad Ilani (@yaad_ilani) September 11, 2018

Last weekend Gloucester City played Truro City at Evesham in Worcestershire where Gloucester are currently playing home games. Truro are groundsharing at Torquay this season. Is this the first game in British football to be played by two clubs playing outside their own counties?

— Paul (@LordBrownwind) September 11, 2018
  • Email your questions and answers to knowledge@theguardian.com or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU.

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